“Life can only be understood backwards […]”

When reflecting on my travels, thoughts and Monday routine, I thought of the quote by Soren Kierkegaard, “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”  It’s an odd feeling to look back on your day, which otherwise would be just another blur, but this assignment forced me to be more aware of how I chose to spend my time, and more mindful of my surroundings and routine.

Monday, March 12th began with the sound of my cell phone alarm clock going off at 8:20am, just enough time for me to shower and put myself together for my 10am class in Small Hall, a roughly twenty minute walk from my house.  The weather was absolutely beautiful and made the transition from spring break more bearable.  On my walk over to campus I said hello to some neighbors who were sitting outside in lawn chairs with empty beer cans decorating their entranceways. They were in high spirits and told me to be careful and have a safe walk, as they usually do. Campus was quite the scene; the Greek scene was all over the Sadler terrace with girls in sun dresses and guys in short sleeves, a Kodak moment for a W&M undergraduate admissions brochure, I thought. After my 10am-10:50am class in Small Hall, I made my way over to Barnes and Nobles, a more recent routine, to study for the two midterm exams which had been haunting me all of spring break.  The quiet and unpopulated atmosphere in the newly constructed café makes for a good place to study without the distractions of friends in Swem or the Daily Grind. I ordered a coffee and was delighted to find the place almost empty with plenty of unused outlets- the perks of a small town! I began looking over notes for tomorrow’s exam for Sexuality in America and Friday’s exam in Astronomy.  Soon thereafter, distractions interrupted my studies with text attacks and friends coaxing me to join them at the Daily Grind to soak in the sun and people watch.  I successfully resist the temptation to socialize, but decide to sit out on a porch in Colonial Williamsburg and read for tomorrow.  As I read about Foucault’s theory of power from below and Freud’s ideas toward congenital and acquired sexuality, I would glance around and watch the tourists, mostly families and seniors, with the occasionally college student running.  It’s times like these when I remember why I chose to go to school here. The beauty of the historic area and the livelihood of curious newcomers give Williamsburg its charm.

Feeling hungry and anxious about my exam tomorrow, I walked home to get some food and get my things to prepare for a long night at Swem.  During this window of time from about 2pm to 4pm, my mom called to remind me to buy new clothing for the Persian New Year that’s coming up on the 19th and reminded me to call my grandmother who’s visiting from Iran.  Around 4pm, I drive over to Swem to meet with my friend Joe in his study room.  The rest of the night consisted of about 60% studying, 40% socializing – the typical situation when all of your friends are in the same building. A little bit before midnight, I head home and continue preparing for my exam from home.

Reflecting upon my day, I realized that I could be more efficient with the use of my time and how getting into a more structured routine could be helpful in organizing my lightest school day. I also thought about how I remembered Monday being a really great day.  I got to see all of my friends at Swem and remembered how important my social life is to my well being. I always feel like no matter where you are as long as you have amazing friends and a support system, you will be happy. Regardless, I could definitely improve my time management skills and get more structure into my life to get more done in less time.   My visual map is a bit metaphorical and non-linear. At Swem I often feel pressured and overwhelmed, which is represented by being underwater, yet I get most of my best work done there, despite some distractions. Sometimes I have to remind myself that I’m at William and Mary to study for it’s far too easy get sucked into the distractions of your personal life.   Overall, this assignment helped me appreciate the beauty of Williamsburg, it’s conduciveness to getting work done and helped me remember how lucky I am to be at this incredible institution.


The Williamsburg Documentary Project (WDP) strives to collect and preserve the rich past of Williamsburg, Virginia. By conducting oral history interviews, building physical and digital archives, and creating online exhibits, the WDP interprets Williamsburg’s recent past. The WDP works towards developing a better understanding of Williamsburg by bringing together individuals, local groups, Colonial Williamsburg, and the College of William & Mary.

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